Karen Farrington

Karen Farrington is a writer and former Fleet Street journalist whose published work includes titles on social and military history, together with a range of non-fiction TV companion books.

Over the last 20 years she has been commissioned by some of the UK’s leading publishers to present often complex subjects in a concise, engaging style – seen most recently with the Christmas 2019 best-seller The Repair Shop (BBC Books). Farrington also worked as lead researcher for The Life And Times of Call The Midwife (the companion to series one and two; BBC Books)

Other recent BBC Books titles include Springwatch: The 2019 Almanac (with Michael Bright), Murder, Mystery and My Family: A True Crime Casebook, Great Victorian Railway Journeys: How Britain was Built by Victorian Steam Power and Great Lives: As Heard on Radio 4 (with Matthew Parris).

Previous works on military history include The Blitzed City (Aurum) an account of the Coventry Blitz and Witness To World War II (Blitz) – both of which focused on recounting history through the eyes of those who saw it.


The Angels of Englemere Wood

Karen Farrington

The inspiring, uplifting true story of a group of London girls dispatched to a children’s home in rural England during the Blitz, and the formidable matron who transformed their lives

Life in Britain between the two world wars was arduous and daunting. Working people laboured to stave off the spectres of disease, hunger and homelessness, and against this troubled backdrop, children inevitably came off worst.

This is the true story of a group of poor London girls who, to escape the merciless bombing of the Luftwaffe, were dispatched to a children’s home in Ascot. Where once they heard the throb of railways and tasted the smoke of locomotives, now there was birdsong and a whole new set of escapades to enjoy. And under the care of the formidable but kindly Matron Doris Bailey – the Angel of Englemere – the lives of the girls were utterly transformed.

Through first-hand accounts from the surviving girls, their stories and anecdotes shed light on life at the time – from the emotional upheaval of evacuation, rationing and royalty, love and loss, and adventures on the royal grounds of their new home – recounting the people who came into the orbit of girls, from princesses to socialites, and above all, the work of one woman who helped save a generation.

‘An engaging war-time tale. These evocative first-person memories conjure a vivid picture of 1940s Britain, leaving a lasting impression’

— Lucy Fisher